Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ye Gods!

Ya know, sometimes it looks like the baseball gods have it out for ya. Take Ian Snell, who's self-inflicted enough wounds that he doesn't need divine intervention.

But he got it tonight. The gods apparently were tired of playing with the Nats, and started Snell off by having his AAA opponent, Craig Stammen, throw four perfect innings to begin his first MLB outing.

Then they had runs score off a ball that went off Adam LaRouche's glove, an excuse-me soft lob that Nate McLouth had to slide for to make the catch, allowing the runner to tag, and a two-out seeing eye RBI single that barely eluded the gloves of Snell and Freddy Sanchez before trickling gently into center field.

But in the seventh, apparently the gods got bored and changed channels. With his adreneline gone and his sinker up, Stammen got the hook, due greatly to a two-run shot by Adam LaRoche. The Bucs were up 4-3, and into the Nats bullpen.

But hey, the gods hit the remote, and tuned back into Nationals Park. Julian Tavarez shut the Bucs down for two innings, and Gorzo finally proved he was human, giving up a pair of runs in the eighth on four hits, only one of which was smacked hard enough to crack an egg.

The key was with one out, runners on first and third, and nobody in yet. Gorzelanny got Ryan Zimmerman, second in the NL in DPs, to bounce a ball to second. But it found the hole, and that was the beginning of the end. It was 5-4 before Jesse Chavez doused the flames.

Joel Hanrahan of the bloated ERA and save percentage came in, and like Matt Capps the evening before, coaxed a 400' fly out, this one off the bat of Adam LaRoche. Brandon Moss singled, but the gods had enough. He struck out the next two batters, the fat lady sang, and the baseball gods wandered off to their Valhalla sports bar, another night's work done.

Who woulda thunk that the Nats could make a couple plays in the field and get three innings out of their bullpen? It could only be the Ruthian deities.

The pitching matchups for the White Sox series, from

-- Despite the three runs, Snell pitched pretty well tonight. All three pitches were working, and it was the best outing he's had in quite a spell. He was calm and in command on the mound, and looks this close to turning it around.

-- OK, Jack Splat isn't going to the M's. Geoff Baker of the Mariners Blog says:
We mentioned the (Yuniesky) Betancourt-to-Pittsburgh for Jack Wilson rumors a couple of days ago. Well, I'm now told that's not going to happen. Why? The Pirates think Betancourt is too pricey.
Well, for Pirate purposes, he is. Yuni is a big-time downgrade with the glove, maybe a push with the bat, and is tied up with a guaranteed contract worth $1.5M for the rest of this year, $3M next season, $4M in 2011 and has a $6M club option in 2012 with a $2M buyout.

The truth is they don't want him that on the books that long and don't want on the hook for the $10.5M remaining on his deal. We're glad they saw the light.

-- According to Corey Brock of The Padres are bringing Tony Gwynn Jr. home to his native San Diego.

The Padres traded outfielder Jody Gerut to the Brewers for Gwynn Jr., who was hitting .309 with a .387 on-base percentage for Milwaukee's AAA Nashville or the PCL. Gerut, 31, was hitting .227 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 37 games with the Padres.

Gerut is an ex-Bucco; Gwynn lost his roster spot to another former Pittsburgher, Chris Duffy. Old Pirates never die, they just get recycled.

-- Ditto with old Pirate coaches. Joe Slusarski was fired as pitching coach for AA Frisco of the Rangers' organization. Jeff Andrews, who was working at the A level after spending 2008 as the Bucs' pitching coach, was named to replace him.

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